Thursday, July 4, 2013

とある魔術の禁書目録2 (A Certain Magical Index II): Nuns are generally evil, but twirly eyes are good for the soul

I finally got myself to watch 'A Certain Magical Index II'- probably a year or more after completing the first season. I couldn't remember much about the plot of season one at all, apart from the bare essentials- that there was something going on between a scientific civilization and another dependent on magic. It's no surprise that I was completely scrambled, though my eyes didn't turn into kaleidoscopes like Misaka's (pictured above), when inter-church rivalry and samurai popes showed up on the scene.

A brief summary to put things into perspective. While Index II splits itself into a few separate stories/plots which each have a few episodes to themselves, almost everything falls neatly under the overreaching umbrella theme of the main rivalry between the militaristic and expansionist Church of the Holy See (Roman Catholics) and the isolated Academy City, the main hub of technology and esper development. While some Christian denominations play a role, like the Church of England, I'm not entirely sure what happened to the other religions though.

You'll eventually find out that both sides- the top brass of each, to be precise- in the conflict are equally misguided. The Holy See here appears to be an amalgamation of radical Christian fundamentalists, the technology avoiding Amish, and a stock representation of religious bigotry in general- their actions being enough to perhaps have non-Christians think of the actual organization as highly repulsive (it's a historical curiosity in real life, but that's pretty much it). Meanwhile Academy City's motives aren't particularly clear, but aren't exactly noble either, as is obvious from the cloning program in season 1, and their secret plot which  is put into action in the final arc of season 2- basically an undemocratic and highly lethal immigration policy, which is the most I can say without spoiling the story. On to the characters, then.

Index, the nun walking around with a grimoire library packed in her head is the titular character, the main character is really Kamijou Touma- but never mind him for now. One of the first things that struck me was how annoying I found Index to be, which was quite a surprise- extreme annoyance with her during Season 1 would have imprinted itself on my memory. As it is Index got on my nerves when she started acting like a self-centered little kid, demanding Touma's constant attention and an endless amount of food. I have no idea where he gets the money to feed her, honestly. Touma, stop going around solving international disputes and just put an end to her selfishness already.

Touma as usual, has a hero complex which gets him into all sorts of trouble, and eventually (unsurprisingly) onto a hit-list as well. Apparently he lost his memory- I must have lost mine too, because I can't remember if this was carried over from season 1. His parents showed up in one episode though, and they remember him well enough. Speaking of parents- Misaka Mikoto's mother makes her appearance- as someone who'd inspire an Oedipal complex in the purest saint. Though I suppose that's just my hormones speaking. Ahem.

Accelerator, a 'boss character' from season 1, plays a prominent role here, with a chance to redeem himself. He has a bit of interesting history/perspective to his character- especially in how he didn't want to be turned into a psychotic mass murderer, and finds a way to live with himself. Meanwhile his prey from season 1- the remaining 'Misaka Sisters' have their moments too- and even if they're clones, more of Misaka can only be a good thing, especially the hyperactive little runt Last Order (chibi-Misaka).

Season 2 ended on a high note with both factions's plots put on cold due to Touma and co's interference, though with dark clouds still lingering on the horizon. Seeing as there are already several light novels in the series (which the anime is based on), there's still plenty of material to deal with. All I can hope for in season 3- if it does come- is paradoxically, less of Index herself. I don't have anything against her voice actor Hirano Aya, whose career practically imploded sometime last year, but there you have it. Who uses indices (plural of Index) these days anyway.

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